Movies

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Word of Mouth is putting on the glam, rolling out the red carpet, and practicing our best paparazzi poses for the Academy Awards this Sunday. (Isn't everyone?) But first we're preparing with some film history – smear campaigns, artistic title sequences, and controversial kisses in films have been wowing fans and critics for decades. This Sunday marks the 86th Academy Awards, but not all movies are Oscar-worthy. Hence The RAZZIES, whose goal it is to recognize the worst of the worst. So whether you're preparing for the red carpet or a drive to the office, we've got a star-studded show worth that extra time in the makeup chair or pickup truck.

Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.

25 Best Netflix Documentaries

Feb 4, 2014
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Ross Scarano, deputy editor at Complex, compiled a list of the 25 best documentaries on Netflix. He spoke with Virginia Prescott about his top picks.

Scroll down for the full list and to see what Ross has to say about each.

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It’s about that time in January when you’ve just about had it with “THE BEST ____ OF 2013!” lists… a sure sign that it’s time for awards season. As far as the industry is concerned, the Oscar race begins with the Golden Globe Awards this Sunday night. The ceremony takes place right about the time thousands of members of the Academy of Motions Picture Arts and Sciences are filling out their Oscar ballots - which is exactly what makes the approximately 90 obscure journalists who are members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association so influential. They alone determine who goes home with a Golden Globe Award…and they are wined, dined and stroked by studios and stars accordingly.

We’re going to talk about predictions and snubs with a pair of our own influencers today…Amy Diaz, editor of the Hippo Press, and NH filmmaker Adam Jones, a voting member of the Director’s Guild of America.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

Spoiler Alert!

If you have not seen “The Empire Strikes Back,” Darth Vader reveals a shocking secret to Luke Skywalker:

"Luke, I am your father."

"NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!"

Now, think back, did that scene completely surprise you, or did someone tell you it was coming? Since the film came out in 1980, we’re pretty sure that we didn’t ruin it for you. Today, however, spoilers flourish on social media where there are no rules for revealing the surprising twists and plot devices in movies or T.V. shows. Chris Klimek has come up with some guidelines for reviewers, he’s a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Slate, The Washington Post, and The Village Voice, where we found his taxonomy and guidelines, “The Four Types of Spoilers and How Reviewers Should Handle Them.”

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The afternoons are getting darker, the trees are bare, and the furnace is snapping on; it’s November in New England. A time when we shift indoors and enjoy some quiet before the holidays are upon us. It’s also a great time for movies, when the studios trot out their Oscar contenders and the crush of holiday blockbusters have yet to arrive with guns blaring and special effects thrusting. 

Amy Diaz is editor and film critic for The Hippo, she and film consultant and commentator, Garen Daly are with us to talk movies. Specifically what you see between now and Thanksgiving.

For anyone who’s ever driven by a crumbling old New Hampshire barn and wondered what could be in there, here’s one answer…a stack of dusty old film reels that turned out to be the only surviving reel from a long lost 1911 film. The movie, called Their First Misunderstanding , was written by and stars Mary Pickford, one of the most beloved actresses of the  silent film era. We spoke with Professor Emeritus of Film Studies at Keene State College Dr. Larry Benaquist about the discovery of this rare, important and now celebrated film.

via bethlehemcolonialtheatre.org

The Colonial Theatre in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, is among the oldest continually running movie theatres in the country, and is currently the only venue for showing independent movies in northern New Hampshire. Now, nearly 100 years after opening its doors, The Colonial may have to stop showing films. Like many indie theaters across the country, The Colonial has to convert to the digital format adopted by the film industry if it wants to show new releases. The theatre recently launched a $10,000 Kickstarter campaign to help pay for and install digital projection equipment. Stephen Dignazio is executive director of The Colonial Theatre and joins us to discuss the campaign.

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The huge breakthrough in math that came from the brain of a relative unknown in mathematics got us thinking about the way math genius has been portrayed in pop culture.

It didn't take a genius to come up with this prime number...our top five moments in math...in movies.

5. Little Man Tate upstages the "mathemagician," proving that a child prodigy can, sadly, be over the genius hill.

Razzies.com

On Sunday, tens of millions of people worldwide will watch the dazzling gowns, jewels, and strained smiles on display at the eighty-fifth annual Academy Awards.  On Saturday, a much, much, much smaller audience will watch the Razzies!  For the 33rd year, film buffs and industry professionals gather to recognize the biggest flops, lamest performances, and most tired screenplays of the year.  It’s a dubious honor, but still, some, uh, winners do show up at the Razzies to accept their dis-honor...like Halle Berry for her worst-actress worthy performance in 2004's Catwoman (*note: the video contains some expletives).

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Grab your ballots, Oscar weekend is coming up. This year's category for best actress includes a then-six-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis in "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and eighty-six-year-old "Amour" actress, Emmanuelle Riva. Neither is considered a front-runner, but could that save their careers? It might, if you believe in...THE OSCAR CURSE.

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Word of Mouth's weekly show...the best of the best of Word of Mouth.

Part 1:

A new study shows that the act of holding a gun changes perception, as participants saw guns that weren't actually there. And Clay Wirestone wraps up the latest in video game trends, and looks forward to what's coming in 2013

Part 2:

TED cracks down on pseudoscience at local spinoff TEDX conferences. And film critic Garen Daley tells us what we can expect on the big screen in 2013

Part 3:

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2012 was a banner year for big-screen comic book adaptations – Marvel’s The Avengers, was the top grossing film of the year, followed by the latest in the Batman franchise, The Dark Knight Rises.

Is Die Hard A Christmas Movie?

Dec 15, 2012

What doesn't say Christmas like a terrorist plot foiled by Bruce Willis? - Author Kevin Flynn, Die Hard die-hard

To many, any best-of action film list would ring hollow with the exclusion of Die Hard - but each year, as the holiday season approaches, it begins to fly under a different flag:  an admittedly less warm, less traditional Christmas classic.

Word of Mouth 12.15.2012

Dec 14, 2012
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An anthropologist embeds herself with hackers. Santa opens shop in Hooksett. A Hobbit scholar explains why Tolkien fascinates. Women comedians find success on through podcasts. And the very interesting history...of boredom.

Word of Mouth 12.15.2012

Dec 14, 2012
Leo Reynolds via Flickr Creative Commons

An anthropologist embeds herself with hackers. Santa opens shop in Hooksett. A Hobbit scholar explains why Tolkien fascinates. Women comedians find success on through podcasts. And the very interesting history...of boredom.

Part 1:

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Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Vertigo” recently knocked Citizen Kane off its 50-year perch as the best film of all time. That’s according to the Sight & Sound poll, a survey of critics and film industry pros published every ten years.

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Adjusted for inflation, the Bond series is the highest-grossing film franchise of all time, pulling in more than five billion dollars to date. Skyfall – 007’s 25th outing – took in 87.8- million dollars this past weekend ; it was the highest domestic opening ever for a Bond film.

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With the glut of content available on Netflix, cable, and even YouTube, summertime TV longer has the monopoly on re-runs. Well, a new study reveals that watching reruns doesn’t only kill time. It may actually be good for you.  Tom Jacobs is a science writer with Pacific Standard.

Plus...we did a little man-on-the-street survey about re-runs, asking regular folks, "What show or movie can you watch over and over again?" 

Photo by Andrea Metz, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

Now that The Hunger Games has killed off the competition for spring box office, Hollywood is gearing up for summer. We’ll get the Batman finale, a Spiderman re-boot, new animated heroes from Pixar and Disney, and comedies from Will Ferrell, and Adam Sandler.  Garen Daly is film consultant for Zeotrope Media is here to preview of some films that won’t break box office records.

(Photo by Sarah Ackerman via Flickr Creative Commons)

Here at Word of Mouth, we frequently crack wise about bizarre stories by imitating that ubiquitous announcer voice from movie and video game trailers…the one who always beginning with “In a world where…"

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

After shooting in London, Barcelona and Paris, Woody Allen made his latest European backdrop Rome. To Rome With Love opens Friday in Italy — in Italian.

The movie is a magnificent postcard of the eternal city — a carefree romp along cobblestone streets nestled between ancient ruins and Renaissance palaces. A soft yellow glow pervades every scene. It projects an image of the sweet life with all the charms under the Italian sun, set to the tune of old standbys like "Volare" and "Arrivederci Roma."

At the start of a bright, sunny day that seems otherwise like any other day, a popular teacher is found dead in her classroom. It was suicide.

The school is traumatized, especially that teacher's students. By the next day, the principal is at her wits' end trying to find someone willing to take the class. So when Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag) offers to teach, it comes at just the right moment.

Directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg met in high school and went on to create the Harold and Kumar stoner comedies. Their new movie is American Reunion, the latest installment of the American Pie franchise.

Greta Gerwig, who stars in Whit Stillman's Damsels in Distress, has made a name in indie films like Greenberg with a style that stands out for its naturalism. In Damsels, she inhabits the role of Violet, a bright, sweet, sincere college girl as only a bright, sweet, sincere former college girl could.

Bill Duke knew he was going to get flak from a lot of people before he ever turned the cameras on to film Dark Girls, a new documentary about the painful encounters dark-skinned black women experience in a society where lighter is usually considered better.

It's a subject that has, more often than not, been considered taboo to discuss outside the black community. So Duke knew making a general-distribution movie about color prejudice within the black community was definitely going to rub some black folks the wrong way.

A growing number of American professionals have moved to China in the last decade to ride the economic boom. While much of the news coming out of the country is serious stuff — political repression, trade disputes, tainted food — for American expatriates, day-to-day life in China can be chaotic, exciting and often funny.

Time now for a home viewing recommendation from NPR's movie critic, Bob Mondello. He's found himself swept up this week by the 70th Anniversary edition boxed set of Casablanca.

The Lorax

Mar 28, 2012
Reuters/San Diego Police Department/Handout

The box office success of the new Universal Pictures animated feature film “The Lorax” - based on a classic Dr. Seuss tale – creates a window of opportunity to consider environmental messaging to a new generation of future leaders. The original Seuss tale is beloved. I can still recite it from memory. “Tell us ‘The Lorax’ Dad!” my kids would beg. Like all Seuss books, The Lorax features rhymes, nuances and a moral.

In Japan, 'Sliced-Up Actors' Are A Dying Breed

Mar 28, 2012

Japan is home to Asia's oldest and largest motion-picture industry, with its own unique genres and traditions. While every film industry has stuntmen, only Japan has a class of actors whose main job is to be sliced and diced by samurai sword-wielding protagonists. But the decline of period dramas means that this class of actors is literally a dying breed.

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